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Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 11.20.2014

Alumna Spotlight: Cheri Leavy (BSED '97)

After a childhood of frequent visits to Athens, Cheri Harden Leavy (BSED ’97) couldn’t resist the pull of the Classic City. During college, she transferred to UGA from Ole Miss and has been bleeding red and black ever since. Today, she is the founder of Bulldawg Illustrated, Guide2Athens and The Southern Coterie, three publications that cover the modern South.

UGA Alumni Association Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) spoke with Cheri about her experiences at the university that helped shape her career:

You started college at Ole Miss. What are your connections to UGA and what made you return to Georgia?

My father, Mac Harden (BBA ’77), graduated from UGA and his mother grew up in Watkinsville. We spent a lot of time on the family farm in Oconee County when I was growing up, so I have always loved the area and cheered for the Bulldogs. Generations of our family bleed red and black. I loved my time at Ole Miss; my father says I built my resume on classes that were interesting, but didn’t fit a degree (like "Anthropology of the Blues" and "Faulkner Studies"). I transferred to UGA and got serious. I stayed on the Dean’s List until I graduated from the College of Education, where I participated in the pilot year of the Collaborative Inquiry Teacher Education Program. I taught high school for several years, then joined The Brunswick News where I launched a Newspaper in Education program to showcase local student writing. 

Along with your husband Vance (AB '94), you’ve started Bulldawg Illustrated, Guide2Athens and The Southern Coterie. Explain a little bit about what those are, the inspiration behind them and how your time at UGA prepared you for an entrepreneurial career.

Vance and I created Bulldawg Illustrated, a print newspaper and website that covers UGA sports and the Bulldog lifestyle. Now in its 12th year covering the South’s beloved tailgating and football, it is still a ton of fun. Six years ago, we created Guide2Athens. The pocket-sized square book and blog captures the people and businesses that make America’s best college town so culturally rich. We have loved getting involved in the Athens community and have had a home here for the last five years. When Athens isn’t beckoning, you can find us at home in St. Simons with our two golden retrievers.

  

I founded The Southern Coterie with my friend Whitney Long; it is a resource for the entrepreneurial South. Designed to offer a community of passionate business owners the opportunity to connect, collaborate and create, the “Southern C” network is capturing the South’s entrepreneurial renaissance one post at a time. The Southern C Summit brings the online content to life with a unique multi-day conference where attendees network and connect with the best and brightest names in Southern business and branding. 

What is your most memorable UGA experience? Favorite UGA sports experience?

Meeting Herschel Walker for the first time at Vince Dooley’s home was pretty surreal. The Leavy Family/Brunswick News Publishing endowed a scholarship and we had brunch at the Dooley’s before the game. Vance, his brother, his brother’s wife and I went on the field that day to be recognized. Since we are all UGA graduates, that whole experience was pretty incredible. Herschel was on our Christmas card that year!

Since graduating, you and Vance have stayed involved with the university. Why do you think it’s important for alumni to stay connected to UGA once they’ve graduated?

Staying involved with the university provides you with an invaluable resource of connections to continue to support your growth personally and professionally. Vance and I enjoy supporting the philanthropic side of UGA. I attended the UGA Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy, and now serve on the Georgia Museum of Art friend’s board. We also support our vibrant athletics programs.

I give back to students that are up-and-coming at the university. We have 15 interns from Grady. They bring me a tremendous amount of joy and I learn from them as much as I hope they do from me. I give them a great deal of responsibility and I have high expectations, but if they work hard, they can count on me after graduation.

I traveled recently to the West Coast and to Memphis, where I spent time with former interns. One even visited on her “engagement tour,” where she was introducing her future groom to family. We felt honored to be a stop on her travels. They turn into amazing friends as they get older and I couldn’t be prouder of their successes. The internships certainly feed the teacher side of me that was fostered while studying at UGA. I may not formally be in education any longer, but I am still using that skill set.

Can you give us a hint of what’s next for you?

Oh my goodness, there is no telling.

  

Vance and Cheri Leavy with Uga IX


Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 11.19.2014

From the Desk of Provost Whitten: Food for Thought

This blog was sourced from Written by Whitten, Provost Whitten's blog. Click here to read the original post. 

Food and food processing are big business in Georgia, so it should come as no surprise that the University of Georgia is using its expertise to strengthen one of the top growth industries in the state.

Recently, UGA broke ground on the UGA Griffin Food Technology Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will house the university’s Food Product Innovation and Commercialization (FoodPIC) Center. FoodPIC is a unit of the university's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences that assists new and existing companies in product development, packaging, food safety, consumer acceptance and marketing. It is staffed by faculty from the department of food science and technology, as well as research chefs from within the university and from private industry.

Food processing is the state’s leading manufacturing sector—with an estimated $3.5 billion in annual wages—and it is a rapidly growing industry. Over the past six years, 7,400 jobs in Georgia were created by new and expanding food processing companies, according to data from Georgia Power’s Community and Economic Development division. Large companies that have moved to Georgia or expanded their operations here include household names such as Kellogg’s and Starbucks, and FoodPIC has helped farmers and small companies produce niche products such as frozen desserts made from Georgia fruits as well as sauces and ethnic foods.

FoodPIC is the only project of its kind in the Southeast, and it is one of many examples of the role that UGA plays in economic development. The UGA Griffin Food Technology Center is strategically located just 30 miles south of the world’s busiest airport, and it will help attract food-related businesses to the nearby Lakes at Green Valley Industrial Park.

The entire campus community is grateful to Governor Nathan Deal, the General Assembly, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby, the Board of Regents, the Griffin-Spalding Development Authority and the U.S. Economic Development Administration for their support and partnership on this important project.

UGA's faculty in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have helped make Georgia the nation’s top state for blueberry production, and FoodPIC is putting Georgia on course to become a national leader in food processing.

  


Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 11.18.2014

Classic city sound from television to the silver screen

If you enjoy competition singing shows, you've probably been unknowingly serenaded by Knox Summerour (MM ’06). Summerour is a trumpeter, vocalist and composer whose performance skills have been featured on network hits like Fox’s "American Idol" and NBC’s "The Voice." His work has also been featured on ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth”, CBS’s “Rules of Engagement” and PBS’s documentary,“Pancho Barnes,” which he co-scored and won a Los Angeles Emmy.

Although he occasionally provides background music for television’s hopeful contestants, Summerour is an acclaimed vocalist in his own right. In 2011, Summerour had two of his original songs used in Paramount Beijing’s remake of “What Women Want." His instrumental pieces have been used in both domestic and international films, as well as video games. Most recently, Summerour’s work can be heard in Jeff Dunham’s animated film “Achmed Saves America," released earlier this year.

While at UGA, Summerour trained under the late Fred Mills. Mills’ legacy lives on through the work of incredibly talented students such as Summerour, who take on the world one song at a time. 


Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 11.17.2014

In remembrance of Carl E. Sanders (JD '48)

Former Georgia Governor and former UGA Alumni Association President Carl E. Sanders died Sunday. He was 89 years old.

In 1942, Sanders (JD ’48) enrolled at UGA on a football scholarship. He left for a short time to fight in World War II, flying a bomber he named “Georgia Peach.” He later returned to UGA and played quarterback for the 1945 football team that won the Oil Bowl. His time at UGA launched a relationship with the state's flagship institution of higher education that would span more than 70 years.

Sanders was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1954, served three terms in the Georgia Senate and was elected governor in 1962. Known as “Georgia’s Education Governor,” Sanders oversaw investments in education and training programs, as well as public universities that totaled in the billions. UGA was one of the main recipients of these investments, resulting in a dozen new buildings and a faculty that doubled in size.

Governor Sanders was a staunch supporter of UGA’s School of Law. He was instrumental in gaining state funding to expand the law school building that included space for a law library. After leaving office, he personally donated $1 million to the law school to establish an endowed professorship.

He has been president of the Law School Association, served on the school’s Board of Visitors, and headed the fundraising campaign to build Dean Rusk Hall. He donated his gubernatorial papers, photographs and other memorabilia to the library. He also served as a trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation and was president of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1969 to 1970. 

The UGA Alumni Association is saddened to hear of the passing of former Governor Sanders. Our thoughts are with his family and other loved ones. 


Share on Facebook Tweet this Blog Share on LinkedIn Google+ 11.13.2014

San Diego Chapter president leads successful career in medical illustration

By Elizabeth Elmore (BBA ’08, ABJ ’08)
Director of Communications
UGA Alumni Association

My first day working for the University of Georgia, I was asked to write a blog post about Robert “IronE” Singleton (AB ’98), an actor on AMC’s hit drama, The Walking Dead. That small assignment, to this day, illustrates why I love my job: you never know what incredible things Bulldogs are doing!

Since that time, I have enjoyed countless opportunities to learn about alumni who are, pardon the colloquialism, rocking out in their respective careers. So when asked to write an arts feature for the November Discover UGA section of the university’s website, I wasn’t surprised when I found myself interviewing a Bulldog in an exciting – perhaps unexpected – career field: scientific illustration.

Diantha LaVine (BFA ’03) is the president of the San Diego Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association. Even before enrolling at UGA, she knew that scientific illustration, using artwork as visual tools of communication solely for the service of education, was her primary career interest. Today, as a biomedical illustrator, she supports clients who are conducting research in academic and commercial capacities.

Perhaps I’m the only one, but I never considered who was behind those cross sections of body parts and blood cells in textbooks. Turns out, there are talented artists who enroll in seemingly unrelated college coursework (phlebotomy and figure drawing?) and are able to exercise both the right and left sides of their brain at the same time. Who knew?

  

I won’t go into detail about Diantha’s career path or the exceptional scientific illustration program at Georgia, (you can read all that in the full Discover UGA feature, but, I invite you to consider whether there are Bulldogs in your life doing especially interesting things. Email me a lead (eelmore@uga.edu) and he/she may just end up right here on this blog, in Georgia Magazine or on www.uga.edu.

Thank you to Diantha for opening my eyes to such an interesting career field – and congratulations from the UGA Alumni Association on welcoming a new Bulldog to the family last month! We understand your husband, David (BS ’03), is a doctor; we’ll be interested to see what the newest member of the Class of 2034 will select as a major!

Read more about Diantha here.